President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approached the Circuit Court of Cook County, County Department, Law Division, Illinois, United States of America, to quash a subpoena to Chicago State University by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Abubakar had in a petition dated July 11, 2023, by and through his attorneys, requested the court to “issue subpoena commanding a corporate representative of Resident Chicago State University (Respondent) to appear for deposition upon oral examination of the topics set forth in Exhibit A attached hereto at the offices of Dechert LLP at 35 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3400, Chicago, Illinois 60601 on July 21, 2023 at 9.00am,” to testify and give evidences and in support thereof states as follows:
“That non-party Bola Ahmed Tinubu is currently the President of Nigeria and is facing various court proceedings concerning his election and the authenticity of documents relating to his attendance at Chicago State University;
“That Mr. Tinubu had previously asserted that he attended various educational institutions located in the Chicago area, including but not limited to Chicago State University;
“To test the truth and veracity of Mr. Tinubu’s assertions, Petitioner must depose a corporate representative of Respondent Chicago State University (Respondent) regarding educational record or lack thereof, from respondent;
“To identify and determine if Mr. Tinubu attended above-mentioned institution, petitioner needs deposition testimony regarding the following information, as outlined in Exhibit A, including but not limited to admission information pertaining to Mr. Tinubu, proof of enrollment and attendance of Mr. Tinubu, and any degrees Mr. Tinubu attained from the Respondent.”
Following Abubakar’s filing at the Circuit Court of Cook County, Tinubu, who contested for Presidency on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) approached the same court on July 19, to quash the subpoena and strike out the petition.
Tinubu had via court papers filed by one of his attorneys, Mr Victor P. Henderson, asked same court to quash the subpoena, strike out the petition, and sanction Abubakar and his lawyers.
Tinubu, through his lawyer, had argued that Abubakar issued a subpoena to Chicago State University requiring it to produce a witness to testify about Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s attendance at Chicago State (Exhibit 3, Subpoena.) when no judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County heard the Petition or granted Petitioner the ability to issue the subpoena.
Court papers filed by Tinubu claims that two days after filing the Petition, on July 13, 2023, counsel for Abubakar served the subpoena demanding that a deposition occur six days later on July 19, 2023.
According to Tinubu, the six days deadline was “presumptively invalid for providing less than 14 days for compliance. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 204 establishes a presumptive 14 days for compliance, but Petitioner provided only 6 days from the time of service. By shorting the time for compliance, Petitioner forced the respondent into potentially complying with an invalid subpoena.”
On this ground and many more, Tinubu argued, the subpoena should also quashed because there was no legal basis for issuing it in the first place.”
According to Tinubu, the Petition should be stricken because the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure empowers the Court to strike “a pleading or portion thereof be stricken” because it is “substantially insufficient in law.
“The Petition is substantially legally deficient. No attorney may take it upon him or herself to unilaterally invoke the Court’s powers and issue subpoenas on a petition without the Court’s approval. In addition, a pending action is required to issue a subpoena in this state, but none is referenced in the petition.
“Moreover, the Petition improperly seeks confidential records protected by federal and state law. See 105 ILCS 10/6(a) (prohibiting the release, transfer, disclosure and dissemination of school student records); see also 20 U.S.C. § 1232(g) (purpose of the Federal Educational Records and Privacy Act of 1974 is to protect students from a school’s unauthorized release of a student’s records).
“Petitioner is improperly utilizing the subpoena power of the Illinois Courts to negate protections that Congress and the General Assembly created. The Petition provides no legal basis to overcome these protections and should be stricken,” Tinubu stated.